Project 2 : Duets

The given task for the second project is to compose four short pieces for two unpitched percussion instruments.

The first two pieces should create a conversation or discussion between the two instruments whilst the third and fourth piece should be written in more unusual time signatures. (5 and 7 beats to the bar)

1) Snare Drum & Hand Drum

The task for the first two pieces of the second project, was to create a conversation or discussion between two instruments. I generally would describe this piece as an argument between the two instruments, that ends with compromise.

The snare drum starts with a small motive, which only lasts for one bar and is being repeated in a slightly different way by the hand drum in the second bar. Up until bar 7 both of the instruments try to arrange themselves with one another by coming up repetitively with a dotted crotchet note. Alternately, they are getting louder and quieter until in bar 7 both of them reach their loudest point. From then until the end the instruments are only getting quieter until the end. One can also find a “ritardando” above the second last bar, which indicates, that the end of the “argument” has been reached and the two instruments are “calming down” again.

Project 2 Duets 1 Snare Drum & Hand Drum Screenshot

2) Agogos & Castanets

The second piece is more of a friendly conversation between agogos and castanets. One could say that the agogos are trying to “wake” the castanets.

The motive the agogos start with consists of four quavers followed by four semiquavers. It can be heard from both of the instruments in varied versions throughout the whole piece. The piece begins rather slowly but constantly becomes faster from bars 3-8. Whilst the agogos start in forte and become quieter in the middle of the piece, the castanets (which started with a pianissimo) are constantly becoming louder. They both end with the first four notes played equally loud.

Project 2 Duets 2 Agogos & Castanets Screenshot

3) Wood block & Shaker

Due to the fact that I had already written a piece in a 5/4- time signature (Project 1;  3: Cajon), I did not have too many troubles to get a feeling for the unusual rhythm.

The shaker supports the wood block, playing the motive for this piece from bars 1- 3, where they swap roles and the wood repeats the first 3 bars. From bars 7-8 the woodblock plays a slight variety of what was played by the shaker from bars 1-3. A b-part of the part can be heard in bars 9 and 10, whereas bar 10 already indicates the start of the main-themed a-part coming up. Delayed by one crotchet both of the instruments repeat the beginning of the piece until they come to an adjusted varying end.

Project 2 Duets 3 Wood block & Shaker Screenshot

4) Claps & Stamps

This piece I started in a rather unusual way: I wrote it for the piano (using only a small range of notes) in a 7/8  time signature, before I transferred it onto untuned percussion. (Body percussion in this case).It took me a while to get into the mood of the rhythm. This one is counted 3+4.

Project 2 Duets 4 Claps & Stamps Vorversion
The piece I started with, knowing that it would only be for untuned percussion in the end, I mainly tried to stay on the “f”

The first upcoming “theme” is produced by clapping, it only is played for one bar until being repeated in the second one. The “stamps” support the “claps” from the second bar on. In bar 3 the “claps” start with 3 semiquaver notes (always with one rest in between with the length of one semiquaver), which are being repeated right afterwards in a quieter way. This “semiquaver-motive” can be heard again from the “stamps” in bars 6-7 and 12-13. Bar 6 also indicates is the start of a little side-theme, which can be recognized trough the crotchets, stared by the “claps” until, in bar 8 the “stamps” take over. In the 10th bar the “stamps” come back to the very first theme, which is then, again, repeated by the “claps”. The theme is being played contemporaneously for a last time in the last bar.


Project 2 Duets 4 Claps & Stamps Screenshot
The final version, the sound is produced only through body-percussion.

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